You may have heard of stearic acid being used in certain everyday products such as candles and even medicine. However, stearic acid is also a growing discovery in the world of facial skin care.
What is Stearic Acid?
Stearic acid is a naturally-produced, non-synthetic fatty acid. You can find it some plant and animal derivatives. Familiar to you might be such products as your bath soap, the cocoa butter in your favorite lotion, or the oil pastels your children play with.
Basically, stearic acid is what helps all these products hold their shape. Soap would not be so easy to use without its bar shape, and oil pastels would be a terrible mass of runny colors without the hardener that makes them better to color with. However, that is not the only benefit of stearic acid.
Stearic acid is what they call a surfactant, which is a complicated word for a compound that helps water stick to oil and grease, and rinse them away (in the case of soap, that is). In the case of most products, however, it helps the ingredients blend together in a smoother, thicker mixture.
What are the Benefits of Stearic Acid in Skin Care?
Stearic acid makes a powerful cleanser
Because stearic acid causes water, oil, and grease to bind together, cleansers with stearic acid have a higher chance of actually stripping the skin of dirt, oil, and grease. Your daily post-makeup routine will become much easier, and much more effective. However, more than that, stearic acid is a secret weapon when it comes to facial moisturizers.
Stearic acid makes an effective facial moisturizer
Stearic acid helps facial moisturizers hold more water in proportion to oil than other facial moisturizers. First, this helps the product last longer. With stearic acid in the product, the oil, water, and other ingredients are very unlikely to separate into their individual components. You won’t ever face the problem of pouring moisturizer in your hand and watching it come it out in its unblended state.
Additionally, the water content makes the facial moisturizer kinder and runnier. It’s easier to apply, is perfect for milder skin that tends to react to oils, and naturally moisturizes the skin in a way that also cools and soothes the skin. The moisturizing oils bind faster to your skin, keeping it moisturized for longer, without sabotaging the natural oil production of your skin.
Is Stearic Acid Safe?
The Cosmestics Database describes stearic acid as “safe and mild,” generally. However, it does highlight that stearic acid can be a skin irritant to those with sensitive skin. Like other sets of chemicals, it also has the potential to be a carcinogen, or a product that increases the risk of cancer. It can also potentially (mild risk) add to the build up of toxins in the brain and organs.
However, the Cosmetics Database also noted that this was only a potential effect. Of those who participated in tests regarding stearic acid, only a few even experienced these potential side effects. In other words, it is statistically unlikely that stearic acid in a facial product will be ultimately harmful to the users. It would very much help to use skin care products wisely, in a regular rhythm, and responsibly.